Letter to the Editor by Lynette Gilbeau
Recent events regarding Hydro Quebec’s Northern Pass project in New Hampshire demonstrate the power of public opposition. The proposed Northern Pass project slated to bring power to Massachusetts via New Hampshire was unilaterally rejected by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee.
Closer to home here on the West Island, residents of DDO have been opposing Hydro Quebec’s Poste Saint Jean project since 2014 – a project that would see the construction of a new aerial 315kV transmission line along De Salaberry Boulevard. This mounting opposition has fallen on deaf ears – both governmental and those of Hydro Quebec. The proposed line will be constructed on 52 Meter pylons (the height of 16-storey buildings) along the densely populated boulevard between the Sources and St Jean electrical sub-stations. These pylons will be in extremely close proximity to homes, senior residences and apartment buildings.
In 2014, the city council of DDO unanimously passed a resolution against the aerial installation of this line. A group of concerned residents banded together to form a group called Build it Underground DDO (BIUDDO). The BIUDDO group has expressed a multitude of concerns regarding this transmission line including property value depreciation, environmental/aesthetic concerns, possible health risk from electromagnetic field exposure, and noise encumbrances. The group and city council have repeatedly requested that this line be constructed underground
Hydro Quebec recently reversed plans to construct an aerial transmission line through the Hereford Forest in the Eastern Townships. This reversal was in response to opposition from environmental groups and citizens. How is it that opposition from other groups such as BIUDDO on the West Island falls on deaf ears? It is time for our provincial government to treat all Quebec residents and municipalities equally. Hydro Quebec purports to be an “industry leader”, exporting clean energy to our neighbours in multi-billion dollar contracts. While the Poste Saint Jean project only affects DDO today, other West Island communities will soon face the same challenges in their jurisdictions as the 315kV transmission line moves westward in the next few years. The BIUDDO team urges all West Island residents to oppose the aerial installation of the 315kV line. Send an email to your mayor, MNA and Hydro Quebec. Express your concerns and let our collective voices be heard. For more information about BIUDDO visit www.biuddo.ca